Sal's State of the Bills: Specialists

February 09, 2020 - 9:42 pm

My State of the Bills series continues with a look at the specialists' positions headed into the 2020 offseason:

Under contract:

  • P - Corey Bojorquez
  • K - Stephen Hauschka
  • LS - Reid Ferguson
  • P/K - Kaare Vedvik

Pending Free Agents:

  • None

State of the Position:

The Bills raised some eyebrows as soon as the season was over when they signed Kaare Vedvik to a future/reserve contract. Vedvik, originally from Norway, has a tremendously strong leg and can be both a punter and place kicker. What are the Bills intentions with Vedvik? A case can be made for him to go to training camp and compete for either position. So far in the NFL, Vedvik has mainly been a kicker whose shown off the big leg, but very inconsistent accuracy. While with the Ravens last preseason, he went 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 55-yarder. But on opening day with the Jets, against the Bills, Vedvik missed a field goal and an extra point. He was waived the next day.

Hauschka had a rough start to the season, but finished strong. Over the first nine games, Hauschka was only 8-for-13 on field goal attempts, and also missed an extra point. Over the final seven games, he was 14-for-15 on field goals. The Bills actually put in a waiver claim on kicker Chase McLaughlin in early December after he was waived by the 49ers, but the Colts had a higher waiver priority and were awarded McLaughlin, who was with the Bills during training camp. So it's clear the Bills were at least looking to bring in some competition for Hauschka, who had a nice bounce-back second half. His leg doesn't seem to have the strength it did even just a couple years ago. After going 7-for-9 on field goals of 50-yards or more in 2017, he's only 5-for-12 over the last two years including only 1-for-5 last season.

Vedvik could also compete for the punting job with Bojorquez, who was inconsistent last year. There were times he did a great job of pinning teams inside their own 20-yard line, or cutting the ball though a really tough New Era Field wind, but other times he didn't get the job done as well as the team needed. Bojorquez finished tied for third in the NFL with 34 punts downed inside the opponents' 20 yard line, but was 30th in both gross punting average (41.9) and net punting average (37.7). Vedvik punted 129 times over two seasons at Marshall, including a 44.0 yard gross average in 2017.

The Bills are set at long snapper. Reid Ferguson totaled 140 total punt, field goal, and extra points snaps last season and didn't register a single bad snap. Long snappers don't get noticed until they do something wrong. Ferguson wasn't noticed. He's under contract for two more seasons and his $900,000 cap hit next season ranks in the middle-of-the-pack for all long snappers. It's possible another long snapper joins the team for camp, but would be a huge surprise if he were any real threat to Ferguson.

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